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Town of Keene Press Release about the Garden

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  • Town of Keene Press Release about the Garden

    Because there has been so much additional discussion on this and related topics, and because various versions of this information have been posted from various sources, I am reposting here the text of the Town of Keene Press Release regarding the Garden.

    I volunteered to help make sure that this information is widely disseminated. (If a lot of people show up this summer and find this out by surprise, that will increase the potential for problems.)

    >I am posting this here, on ADKForum, and on VFTT.

    >Neil, could you get this translated, and post it on the various Francophone hiking forums and Facebook pages? Thanks in advance.

    >Could someone who is a member of the various "Aspiring 46er" Facebook pages post this there? (An "abbreviated" version was posted some time ago, but we need the complete original Press Release posted).

    Thank you.

    Press Release:

    The Garden Parking Lot in Keene Valley will be Closed for Summer 2019

    The Garden Parking Lot at the Garden Trailhead – one of the main access points to the eastern High Peak Wilderness – will be closed to public motor vehicles during the spring and summer of 2019 due to the replacement of the Johns Brook Bridge. Construction of the replacement bridge, located in Keene Valley, Essex County, will begin as soon as weather and road conditions allow and is expected to last through the summer. No vehicles or pedestrians will be able to pass the bridge once construction is started through completion of the project.

    Hikers and backpackers may gain access to the Garden Trailhead by parking at Marcy Field Parking Lot and using the Town of Keene Shuttle. The bus will transport hikers between the parking lot and the trail head. This will be the only means for accessing the Garden Trailhead during the closure period.

    The Town of Keene plans to operate the Shuttle from 7 am to 7 pm seven days a week. The cost will be $10 round-trip per person ($13 Canadian). However, due to the current lack of bus drivers this schedule may be reduced. Please check the town website for up-to-date shuttle schedules.

    The Town is working closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Mountain Club to help inform hikers and provide them with information about the closure, the shuttle, and alternative hikes in the area.

    The Town recognizes that this is a major disruption during the nicest hiking weather, but the bridge replacement is a critical public safety issue. The current bridge is in such poor shape that plow trucks, fire trucks, and ambulances cannot use it.

    Please respect the closure, no parking signs, and private property. Don’t park or walk on private property to gain access. There will be posted No Parking areas along Adirondack St., Market St., and Johns Brook Rd. Illegally parked cars will be towed.

    The Town of Keene appreciates the public’s patience and understanding in this matter. Please see our website for shuttle information and other hikes in the Keene area.

  • #2
    Thank you for posting that. It's well written. I'll plan accordingly.


    • #3
      In this second post, I will add my comments, not speaking for the Town, but as a Town resident:

      The Town has always been, and wants to remain a welcoming destination for hikers. We want people to enjoy their visit, patronize our local businesses, and return to visit again.

      The parking situation is difficult, and this year it will probably be more difficult for a while. We are trying to help!, But, we are also serious about controlling traffic and preventing trespassing.

      PLEASE adhere to the restrictions as described in the Press Release. These restrictions will be enforced. Early in this project, the alternative of closing the Garden altogether during the project was discussed. The Town has worked very hard in planning this to allow some access to the Garden. Please respect this.

      As has been discussed here, there are other, longer ways to reach the John's Brook valley, some on trails, and some involving off-trail travel. It's fine to take these routes, but be careful to adhere to whatever parking restrictions may be in place, and be careful to not trespass on private property.

      Staffing the shuttle remains a challenge that is being worked on. If the shuttle is not available when you want it to be, we are sorry. We are a small town with limited resources. Please know that we are doing our best to address this.

      We here on the forum also discussed issues around hikers "coming out late" to the Garden. Obviously, this will create problems. If you don't think you can complete your hike and return to the Garden to catch the last shuttle, PLEASE consider alternative hikes. If you have other high peaks on your list where the hikes originate from other trailheads, please consider those. If you are not working on high peaks, and are just looking for great hikes with great views, please consider alternatives such as Hurricane, Noonmark, Jay, Bald Peak, etc.

      Again, we want to welcome hikers! Thanks for your understanding, and we hope to see you this summer.


      • #4
        In addition to TCD, I also attended the recent Town of Keene board meeting where we got an update on the planning for Garden access this summer. The original plan for replacing the bridge apparently included a temporary one-lane bridge, but building that bridge would have required removing the huge boulder that is just before the bridge. This would have significantly increased the cost of the project and increased the time required to complete the project since the contractor would have had to deal with traffic very close to the construction site. The Town/County then appealed to the private landowner to allow the use of their very narrow, one-lane, dirt-surfaced road for temporary access. This is limited to the shuttles (general public and JBL) and the landowners on the two roads served by the bridge. The private landowner did not want public hiker foot traffic because it would likely have created a temptation to park on the road leading to the one-lane road as well as interfering with their use of their property.

        The town supervisor said that a garage in Lake Placid has committed to towing any illegally parked vehicles and even boasted that they "... could tow 50 cars a day if necessary." He also added that, if there were problems, the Garden would be closed. So, please bear with the Town as we work to get through this difficult few months. And please don't be the one who causes the problem that leads to the Garden's closure.


        • #5
          Thank you for the Information. I assume it is legal to park overnight at March Field ??


          • #6
            Yes, but sleeping or camping at the trailhead is prohibited as with all DEC trailheads.

            Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


            • Learning The Trails
              Learning The Trails commented
              Editing a comment
              Even though NYS doesn't own Marcy Field?

              Not that I plan on car camping there.

          • #7
            I understand the need for all this, but ...

            Towing a car that is illegally parked is fair, but I find it hard to believe they will actually do this, and to Lake Placid? This would be ok in NYC, but in a small town, with my car now 2 small towns away? I hope there is some signage on what to do, or who to call, or ... ? I can easily see someone coming out late, with no cell coverage, and no options for lodging, being in a bind.

            Also, closing the Garden due the trespasses of others only punishes the innocent...
            Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

            Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
            Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
            Past President Catskill 3500 Club
            CEO Views And Brews!


            • halocline
              halocline commented
              Editing a comment
              Keep in mind that the inconvenience for hikers is much less than the inconvenience for the people that live in the areas affected by this bridge closure. How would you feel if an emergency vehicle could not get to your house, or was delayed, because someone had illegally parked? It could happen.

              If the whole thing goes south, people park everywhere and the garden is closed for the summer, I don't think it's about punishing anyone, it's about protecting the rights of the people that live there, and they deserve that right. It would suck, but we hikers can get over it, it's a temporary thing and there are PLENTY of other great places to hike.

              Access to the HP is incredibly easy, compared to most areas in the US with a similar level of hiking/camping opportunities, i.e. national parks. This bridge project makes it a little less easy for one summer season.

          • #8
            Here is the most recent update on the project, published locally today. This information is from a post by our Town Supervisor. Short version - closure will continue through August; Labor Day is "maybe" at this point.

            PLEASE continue to "play nice." As Joe Pete says, the town and county are doing their best. Thanks!

            Yesterday I met with Luck Brothers for a progress meeting on the bridge project. The owner said that they are so far behind due to the hard rock under the town side abutment that they won't be finished until the end of August or the beginning of September. [A] small excavator is removing the last of the loose material [from that area] and then concrete will be poured to level it. Then, 21 pilings will be driven into the rock to anchor and support the abutment. Once the pilings are in, they will build forms and pour concrete for the abutment. The next step is to lay out the beams that span the brook. It will take one month to complete the bridge from the time the beams are placed. The town and county did everything to make the project go as quickly as possible. The rock that needed to be removed was much harder and more extensive than expected. It will be frustrating for everyone who is impacted by this project to get through the rest of the summer. I know this is bad news and I apologize. Please bear with us until the project is done. Thanks again, Joe Pete"


            • Bunchberry
              Bunchberry commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the bad news

          • #9
            Anyone heard any recent updates on the progress?


          • #10
            Thanks for the update. Looking forward to the opening in November


            • #11
              It is actually looking good for the bridge to be back in service within a month. Yesterday, the contractors set the steel and got the plates of reinforced concrete on the steel girders. Now it is a matter of pouring cement and then asphalt on the deck. These are known procedures with standard times for curing. The unknowns of the near side foundation are now taken care of.